Gordon and David Gray from Sunnycroft, Lindean, Selkirk plan to defend their Champion Of Champions crown at this year's Northumberland County Show on Monday June 4th 2012, by exhibiting a team of Texel sheep from their famous Ettrick flock to catch the eye of judge Robert Laird of Biggar, Lanarkshire.
The Gray Family of Selkirk with their Texels, winners of the ‘Best Group of Three Sheep’ Northumberland County Show 2011
The culmination of months of planning and years of breeding paid off at last year's show for the Ettrick flock when they won the Champion of Champions accolade with the texel gimmer “Ettrick Lady Kate”. Judge Michael Aynsley described the winner as “The perfect sheep”. David Gray said “It was an honour to win such a prestigious award in the main ring with such an excellent show of tremendous livestock”.
Ettrick Texels were established in 1982 under the prefix of the then family farm of Hillridge, however when the flock was relocated to the Scottish Borders in 1990 it changed its prefix to the name of the river which flows through the hill farm, the Ettrick. The farm has 120 pedigree Texel ewes and 100 cross bred sheep used for embyro transplants, 400 Mule, Suffolk and Texel cross ewes and twenty pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle.
This will be the third year the Ettrick flock has been shown at the Northumberland County Show having won the Texel championships in 2010 and 2011. David says he is looking forward to the start of the show season as he enjoys preparing the animals for showing and renewing friendships built up over the years.
He commented “We decided to start showing our Texel sheep at the Northumberland County Show three years ago as it is one of the top shows in the area. It gives us the opportunity early on in the year to see how our team is looking in comparison to other breeders and because of the large crowds who flock to the showground every year it is a great window to showcase our livestock. We find showing sheep at the Northumberland County Show provides us with a good benchmark for the Royal Highland Show”.
The Ettrick flock plan to show their Northumberland County Show Champion texel from 2010 “Tima Princess” at this years show. Last year their Champion of Champions ewe “Ettrick Lady Kate” went on to win at Lesmahagow show and was third in an extremely strong class at the Royal Highland Show. She had embryos taken from her last year and gave birth to twins at the beginning of March.
The Ettrick flock won the RASE in 2003 and 2004 but last year was by far their most consistent show season to date, winning the Scottish Club Points Trophy (for points gained throughout the show season) and five Championships with four different gimmers, including three Champion of Champions. Highlight for the flock last year was selling a gimmer at Lanark for 26,000gns having previously sold Ettrick Jackpot in 2003 for 36,000gns
Entries for all classes close on 1st May, the Gray family have just submitted their entry forms and other breeders need to follow suit as this date is always adhered to. A complete list of all livestock and competitive classes at the show is available in the schedule, which can be downloaded at www.northcountyshow.co.uk
Copies are also available by sending a SAE to The Secretary, Northumberland County Show, Hexham Auction Mart, Tyne Green, Hexham, NE46 3SG.
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